subjected to government penalties and criminal prosecution if they misrepresent information from research that is supported by federal funds, even if the information is not presented directly to government officials. Research institutions and scientific investigators who apply for and receive federal funds are thus expected to comply with high standards of honesty and integrity in the performance of their research activities.

TABLE 4.2 Findings of Misconduct in Science in Cases Reviewed by the Office of Scientific Integrity Review, Department of Health and Human Services, March 1989 to December 1990

Type of Allegation

Findings of Misconduct (15 investigations)

Fabrication or falsification




Other deviant research practices




a The total of findings of misconduct is larger than the number of investigations because some cases had multiple findings.

SOURCE: Department of Health and Human Services (1991b).

Government Definitions of Misconduct in Science—Ambiguity in Categories

The PHS's misconduct-in-science regulations apply to research sponsored by all PHS agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration, the Centers for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research. The PHS defines misconduct in science as “fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other practices that seriously deviate from those that are commonly accepted within the scientific community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research. It does not include honest error or honest differences in interpretations or judgments of data” (DHHS, 1989a, p. 32447). 8

The PHS's definition does not further define fabrication, falsification, plagiarism, or other serious deviations from commonly accepted research practices. The ambiguous scope of this last category is a topic of major concern to the research community because of the

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